A Cat Lover’s Guide To Owning A Cat
Few pets are as entertaining and rewarding as cats. Getting a cat will ensure that you not only have a wonderful four-legged companion in your home, but you’ll also have a great source of laughs and entertainment, and a little fur friend to snuggle with.
Cats are thought to be lower maintenance than dogs; and this is partly true. Most cats don’t need to go outside for exercise or to go to the bathroom, and you can leave a cat all day for work and they can often entertain themselves with relative ease. But that doesn’t mean that owning a cat demands any less time or commitment than any other animal.
Getting a cat is still a big commitment. This guide will help you understand the basics of owning a cat and will help you prepare to welcome a cat into your home.
Should You Get a Cat?
In determining whether you should get a cat, consider if you are willing to devote the time, money, and energy necessary to properly caring for a new four-legged friend. Every cat is different, but most are lower maintenance than a dog. But that doesn’t mean that owning one isn’t a big commitment and one that deserves to be a priority in your life.
Cost Of Owning A Cat
As with all pets, there are costs associated with owning a cat. If you adopt a cat from an animal shelter or rescue organisation, you’ll likely have to pay an adoption fee. You’ll also need to buy food regularly, as well as pay for annual vet visits.
Remember to factor in your budget any unexpected vet visits for health issues that pop up randomly, as well as other essentials like toys, beds, and a crate.
Time Commitment Of Owning A Cat
Even though cats can be lower maintenance than dogs, they still require your time and attention every day. Cats are very intelligent and require mental stimulation, whether that’s playing with a feather toy or chasing a laser pointer.
Keeping your cat mentally and physically active will not only keep them healthy and happy but can help you avoid potential behavioural problems that stem from boredom or loneliness. Plan to spend at least 10 minutes a day giving your cat your undivided attention for some quality play time.
What Breed Of Cat Should You Get? Should You Buy or Adopt A Cat?
If you want a purebred cat, then you’ll probably want to buy one from a breeder. But it is highly recommended that you adopt a cat from an animal shelter or rescue organisation. Because stray cats tend to remain unaltered, the population of stray cats is usually startlingly high.
Adopting a cat can provide a safe and loving home to a pet who was born or lived a hard life as a stray. In adopting, you also clear a space in an animal shelter for another cat to be cared for until he or she is adopted.
In adopting a cat, you may or may not know what breed your cat is. On occasion, rescues will have breeds like Siamese or Maine Coons and others. But many animal shelters will have short and long hair cats of all different colours and sizes.
In choosing a cat, it’s a great idea to have a preference as to age, size, or colour. However, be open to giving a home to the cat you really connect with… even if it’s an older cat or one of a colour you hadn’t thought of before. Being open to new possibilities in terms of your future cat will result in you finding the cat that is truly the best fit for you and your family.
When Should You Bring Your Cat Home
Believe it or not, there is a wrong time to bring home a new cat — and that is usually when there’s a lot going on in your home to cause undue stress or anxiety for you and a pet. For example, you should avoid bringing a new cat home during Christmas time and other big holidays, as the flurry of activity can cause a great deal of stress on a cat who is trying to settle in to a new home.
Further, holiday decorations can be temptations for cats to chew on or otherwise mess with, causing potential problems for you and the cat. It’s best to bring your new cat home during a time when your home is relatively calm and peaceful. This will ensure a smooth and comfortable transition for your new cat.
Preparing Your Home For A Cat
Preparing your home for a cat takes a little time and planning. All cats are different in terms of personality and temperament, but many cats do like to climb, explore, and get into things they probably shouldn’t! It’s worth it to take a bit of time to make your home pet-friendly, and specifically cat-friendly.
Is Your Home Safe For A Cat
Cats can be troublemakers. Make sure that your home is safe to welcome your new four-legged friend by removing things that would be a temptation for bad behaviour.
If you have houseplants, make sure they are well out of reach or at least non-toxic to animals (keep in mind that cats are excellent climbers and jumpers, so placing it on a shelf or table won’t necessarily mean it’s out of reach). Also, be cautious of where your electrical cords are located, as some cats like to chew on them.
Can You Have A Cat In A Flat?
You don’t need a huge home to house a cat. Cats can do well in small flat or large homes. But you should consider your location and how your home is set up before bringing a cat home.
Some cats like to make a run for it when the door opens, so be cautious of this when you enter and leave. Living indoors is significantly safer for cats, so the goal should be to avoid letting them outside, especially if you live near a road with any sort of traffic on it.
Do You Have Room For Your Cat’s Supplies?
Cats are smaller than dogs, so cat supplies will take up less room, but you’ll still need to devote some space in your home for your cat supplies. Consider storing a crate in a cool and dry place for when you need to travel with your cat.
Keep some toys out around your house, as many cats can easily entertain themselves while you’re away for the day. And food can be easily stored in plastic containers or a small corner cabinet, depending on your preference.
Supplies You’ll Need For Your Cat
To keep your cat happy and healthy, you’ll need a few essentials once you welcome your new friend into your home. Consider the following and how these supplies can help you give your cat the best life possible:
There are a few essentials that you’ll need to provide the best care possible for your cat. Of course you’ll need food; discuss with the rescue organisation where you adopt your cat the best food for him or her to eat.
Try to avoid changing food brands too quickly, as this can cause digestive problems in cats with sensitive stomachs. You’ll also want a collar and possibly a leash for your cat, although many cats don’t like to be kept on a leash and don’t need to be taken outside.
Be sure to buy a bed for your cat, or at least give them a warm blanket to snuggle on. This will give them a warm place to sleep and feel secure. Cats also do well when they have a scratching post: this is a small pole or even a box with burlap, cardboard, or twine that provides your cat an area to sharpen his or her claws. Providing this really helps to keep cats from damaging the corners of furniture. If you have room in your home, also consider buying a cat tree, which is a carpet-covered structure with scratching posts and cubbies for you cat to climb on and in.
Finding A Cat Sitter For Your Cat
Pet professionals can also help you to provide excellent care for your cats. You will want to find a cat sitter to care for your cat and check on him and her while you’re at work during the day, or if you leave for a few days on a trip.
Most cats don’t need trainers, but if any behavioural problems arise, they can be a big help in working through issues. You’ll want to budget for routine vet visits, and you’ll want to have a good working relationship with your vet. Depending on your cat’s coat, a groomer can help keep your long-haired cat looking beautiful and healthy.
How Your Cat Will Change Your Life
Owning a cat will require time, money, and energy on your part, but it will truly change your life for the better.
Pros and Cons Of Owning A Cat
As with any commitment, there are pros and cons. Owning a cat will require regular expenses of food and vet care. You’ll also need to commit to spending time with your cat, as he or she will depend on you for basic care and for fulfilling their mental and physical exercise needs. You’ll need to adjust a few things around your house to make your home pet-friendly and will need to make your cat’s health a priority.
But the pros make the cons worth the effort. In owning a cat, you’ll be getting a companion who will provide endless laughs, lots of snuggles, and joy on a daily basis. Cats can be entertaining and are some of the most fun pets to have because of their playfulness. Whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or are planning to adopt your first cat, owning a cat will certainly change your life for the better.